CRO Best Practices: The 2020 Guide

By Tinuiti Team

When starting with your conversion rate optimization program, it is important to see where the low-hanging fruit opportunities are on your site to begin testing or optimizing right away. New visitors tend to account for a majority of website traffic, while returning visitors typically have higher conversion rates. Finding ways to increase your new visitor conversion rates can dramatically help increase your bottom line

So, how can you go about creating a more compelling experience for visitors on your site? Below are a few of our best practices at Tinuiti from a CRO perspective.

Many of the call-outs here are general CRO “best practices”, however, visitor behavior can vary site to site, industry to industry. It is always encouraged to A/B test any site changes prior to implementation so that you can let the data inform your decisions. 

CRO Best Practices For 2020:


1. Clearly Communicate Value Proposition

All visitors, especially new visitors, need to understand the value of your product and/or service. Make sure visitors can answer the following questions within the first few moments of landing on your site with ease:

Use clear, concise value proposition points that speak to what will benefit your visitors when they use your product or service. Doubling this up with relevant iconography can help guide the visitors eye-path toward these points so that they notice them right away.

2. Showcase Brand Logo/Name (Where am I?)

Your brand logo and/or name should be easily visible, but doesn’t have to be the center of attention. This can help begin the process of brand awareness and recognition so that when visitors see your logo again, it begins to feel familiar. Keep it centered or off to the left in the top navigation so that it is clear and easy to find. 

3. Directional CTA Above the Fold (What can I do here?)

Do you have a clear CTA above the fold? Chances are, if you don’t give visitors a direct action to take right away (even if that’s a “Learn More” CTA) the chances of them leaving or getting lost are much higher. 

Help guide visitors throughout the funnel and get them to where you want to go without making them dig around the site to figure it out for themselves. 

4. How It Works & Process Copy (What can I do here?)

If it’s relevant, include a “How it Works” module on your page to help inform visitors who have never been to your site or used your products/services on how the process works. Make this language as clear and straightforward as possible to eliminate any confusion around the action you want them to take.

5. Content Hierarchy (Why should I choose your product/service over the competition?)

Think in terms of visitors who have never been to your site before — what should they see first? What will help tell the best story about your brand or products? How can you leave a lasting impression so that they want to come back or tell others about your brand or product (even if they don’t purchase right away)?

Heatmap data tends to show that a majority of visitors drop off after the page fold. Keep this in mind when deciding where to place content so that your most compelling value proposition points are above the fold or higher up on the page so that it can be exposed to as many visitors as possible. 

6. Use Compelling Headlines (Why should I choose your product/service over the competition?)

It’s been shown that many people, in general, tend to only read headlines. Make headlines compelling and use them as an opportunity to double up as a value proposition.

When headlines are compelling, visitors are more likely to read the copy that is beneath it to learn more about the message you want to communicate with them.

7. Social & Evidential Proof (Are there proof of these claims?)

Do you have reviews/testimonials? Have you been featured on credible blogs, magazines or publications? Have you won any awards? Do you have any research or case studies that have shown stats around how your product or service has helped others?

All of these forms of social and evidential proof are crucial to validating any value proposition claims made throughout your site experience. When people are unsure about something, they tend to look to others to help them make decisions. Showcase these forms of social proof in high real estate areas where you can expose it to as many visitors as possible. 

8. Offers & Promotions

If you have an offer or promotion — emphasize it! This can be done through pop-ups, or showcased in a banner at the top of the page that follows the visitor throughout the experience.

9. Guarantees & Return Policies

Similar to offers/promotions, if you have a satisfaction guarantee or return policy — emphasize it! Satisfaction guarantees and return policies are great ways to build trust, credibility, and alleviate any purchasing anxieties. 

It can be beneficial to emphasize guarantees and return policies within close proximity to CTA’s and throughout the checkout experience.

10. Messaging & Copy

Keep tone throughout the experience consistent. Using “you” language, in combination with benefit-driven copy, can be compelling for visitors as it feels they are being spoken to directly and that you have their best interests in mind. This will also help to make messaging around offers, value, etc. feel personalized to them. 

11. Relevant Imagery

Use imagery that highlights the value of the product(s) or service(s) being offered and helps create a compelling experience that makes visitors feel connected to your brand.

Make sure the imagery throughout the experience helps to tell a story, not distract from it. Consider A/B testing different hero imagery, or imagery throughout the page experience to have data to support your changes. Sometimes you’ll find lifestyle imagery performs better than product-based imagery and vice versa.

For more questions about CRO research, testing, or anything related to creating a conversion-friendly site experience, you can drop a line to our CRO team at [email protected]!

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